World Cup

‘Not surprised that India is doing well’

James Faulkner is not surprised by India’s thunderous revival in the World Cup after a disappointing tour of Australia. M.S. Dhoni’s men have won seven matches in a row having failed to register a single victory in either the Test or the one-day series.

“I’m not at all surprised that they are doing well,” Faulkner said at the Sydney Cricket Ground here on Monday.

“We have come up against them a lot in the last 12-18 months and now they have spent a fair bit of time in the country and adapted well to the conditions. There is no surprise that they are up against us in the semifinal. They are a very strong team and we are as well. Not at all (worried),” he said.

When India meets Australia in the World Cup’s second semifinal on Thursday, the home team’s supporters are likely to be outnumbered in the crowd. Faulkner admitted that it was something the team was aware of.

“We were talking about it at dinner last night actually that the last game we played here definitely felt like that (an away game). Obviously the passion the Indian fans show towards their cricket team is sensational. We’re definitely expecting that come match day,” he said.

There was acrimony between the teams during the summer and Faulkner expected tensions to continue simmering. “I think that’s always there in the game and if there isn’t you’ve got problems,” he said. “It is the nature of the game, it is the semifinal. It’s going to be cut-throat, there are going to be words said, and both teams I suppose won’t be backing down.”

The pitch at the SCG has become a subject of intense debate after Imran Tahir and J-P. Duminy took seven wickets between them against Sri Lanka. Australia would, naturally, hope for a pitch that is likely to assist its fast bowlers.

Faulkner wasn’t worried, however, about India’s spinners. “They are world-class spinners and they have done their job for a long time now,” he said.

“Our team and our line-up doesn’t have that, we go in with a different team and we are playing in Australia. We will play our best eleven. If you see the wicket against Sri Lanka, it didn’t spin and it was quite easy to get hold of. We made 376 and they made over 300. I’m expecting a lot of runs to be scored.”

Whatever the nature of the pitch, though, it is unlikely to be easy for India to handle Mitchell Starc, who has taken 18 wickets at the World Cup.

“I know the boys don’t like facing him in the nets because of how fast he bowls,” Faulkner said. “He’s a major threat when he’s swinging the ball at 140 or 150 kmph back into the batsman.

“It’s a fantastic skill that he has got and I know he spends a lot of time in the nets working on his yorker over and around the wicket. So far he hasn’t really missed in this tournament. It’s a great bonus for us.”


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 3:45:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/not-surprised-that-india-is-doing-well-says-james-faulkner/article7024924.ece

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